North America

Haiti earthquake death toll rises above 1,200

Published : August 16, 2021 19:29 IST

The quake flattened hundreds of homes and buildings. Photo: Joseph Odelyn/AP Photo/picture alliance

After a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, the death toll more than doubled and hundreds are still missing.

At least 1,297 people were killed in the 7.2 magnitude earthquake on August 14 in Haiti, authorities said on August 15. Hundreds of people are still missing and more than 2,800 were injured, Haiti's civil protection services added.

August 15's figures are a tragic rise in the death toll, which was at just over 300 on August 14. Rescue workers are racing against the clock to pull survivors from the rubble of destroyed buildings as Haiti braces for a tropical storm.

What help is Haiti receiving?

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has sent a 65-person urban search and rescue team to Haiti, as well as 52,000 pounds (23.6 tons) of tools and medical supplies, the agency's chief Samatha Power said on Twitter. Cuba and Ecuador also sent medical or search-and-rescue teams.

Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Peru and Venezuela offered help. The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the body was "working to support rescue and relief efforts."

Pope Francis called on nations to send quick aid in his Sunday blessing in the Vatican. "May solidarity from everyone lighten the consequences of the tragedy," he said on Twitter.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her "heartfelt condolences" to the Haitian people. "My special sympathy goes to the relatives of the victims and to all those who have lost their belongings. To those injured, I wish a speedy recovery," she said in a statement issued on August 15.

What happened?

A state of emergency was declared in Haiti after what the government described as a "dramatic" earthquake — also felt in Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

An approaching tropical storm is likely to complicate rescue efforts. According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Grace is forecast to bring heavy rainfall over Haiti on August 16. Flash flooding is also a possibility.

Hundreds of Haitians lost their homes in the earthquake and several people had to sleep in the open on the night of August 14. The disaster brought memories of the magnitude 7 quake in 2010 that killed tens of thousands of people. The country has also been mired in political turmoil since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise.

fb/rs (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)